Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread Salad with Italian Sausage and Fresh Tomatoes
This cornbread salad starts with cubes of Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread dried in the oven then tossed with Italian sausage, cherry tomatoes, and spinach in a quick vinaigrette. It is a surprisingly delicious and unique meal that the whole family will love, even the biggest skeptics.
I almost didn't create this recipe. I had some leftover Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread hanging around and was thinking about how I might use it. I had the idea to use it to create a version of Panzanella, an Italian bread salad that's typically made with French or Italian bread and tomatoes tossed in a simple vinaigrette.
But, the more I thought about it, the more I thought it probably wouldn't work. The only reason I gave it a go is because I had already purchased the other ingredients. And let me tell you. I am SO glad I did. Panzanella is delicious in its own right, but this cornbread version really kicks it up a notch.
The foundation of this salad is the Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread, giving it a cheesy, slightly spicy base. Since so much of cornbread salad is made up of, well, cornbread, it makes sense to use a super tasty version. If you're making this as a part of Weekly Spring Meal Plan #2, you should have some leftover cornbread in your kitchen, reserved exactly for this salad.
If not, I encourage you to make a batch a day or two before you plan to make this salad, reserving half the pan for this purpose. Alternately, you can use purchased cornbread from a local market or restaurant. Just try to get the most delicious, high-quality cornbread you can find.
Plenty of other vegetables would be delicious tossed into this salad. So, if you have a few stray veggies in your refrigerator that you're not sure what to do with, toss them in, sautéing them first if you like.
This cornbread salad is best served at room temperature.
If you have any leftover, store the cornbread and sausage-vegetable mixture in separate containers, the cornbread at room temperature and the sausage-vegctable mixture in the refrigerator. Bring the sausage-vegetable mixture to room temperature by zapping it in the microwave for 30 seconds or so at half power. Stir, test the temperature, and cook a few seconds longer if necessary.
Weekly Meal Plans that include Cornbread Salad with Italian Sausage and Fresh Tomatoes:
If you give this recipe a try, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, or take a picture and tag it #alittleandalot on Instagram.
Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread tossed with Italian sausage, cherry tomatoes, and spinach in a quick vinaigrette.
- 4 heaping cups of large cornbread cubes - about ½ a pan of Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread
- 1 tbsp + ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 lb ground Italian sausage, sweet or hot
- 5 heaping cups spinach
- 16 oz cherry tomatoes
- 1 bunch green onions, white and light green parts sliced thin (discard dark green parts)
- 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 3 tbsp seasoned rice wine vinegar
- ½ tsp each salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Cut the cornbread into ½ to 1-inch chunks and spread out on the baking sheet in one layer. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the cubes are a deep golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
- While the cornbread is in the oven, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Crumble the Italian sausage into the pan and cook, stirring from time to time, until cooked through and none of the chunks of sausage are pink in the center.
- Add the spinach to the skillet along with the sausage. Let stand for a minute allow the bottom layer of spinach to wilt. Then gently toss with the sausage and cook for another minute or two until all of it is wilted. (If all 5 cups won't fit at once, add half, allow it to wilt in the pan, then add the other half.) Dump the mixture onto a plate or a bowl and allow to cool slightly.
- Cut the tomatoes in half and add to a large bowl along with the sliced green onions, and chopped cilantro.
- In a small bowl, add the ⅓ cup olive oil, rice wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Whisk vigorously to combine and then pour over the tomato mixture. Toss to coat the tomato mixture with the dressing.
- Add the cooked sausage to the tomato mixture and toss to combine.
- To serve, add 1 cup of cornbread cubes to a plate and top with sausage tomato mixture.
- This salad is best served at room temperature.